Teaching Profession

A Tax Brings Arts Teachers to Portland, But Compliance Issues Cause Rifts

By Elisha McNeil — February 26, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Portland officials have proposed to stop disclosing the names of residents who pay the city’s arts tax, according to Oregon Live.

The Arts Education and Access Income Tax, approved by 62 percent of Portland voters in 2012, was designed to hire arts and music school teachers for K-5 students and provide funding for access grants to small art projects and nonprofit institutions in Portland, primarily in often neglected communities.

Since the tax went into effect, the city has released a database of the names and addresses of residents who pay, but the city council now says the rule is unreasonable and is looking to change it.

Before the tax, Portland’s school districts had a total of 31 arts teachers in their K-5 elementary schools. As of last year, that number had risen to 83. Although the money seems to be going where it is intended to, funds received from the arts tax have been below estimates, according to a report issued by the city’s auditor. Officials initially estimated that funds would be $12 million annually. As of December 31, 2015, the tax has brought in just over $24 million of net revenue, with three-quarters of it disbursed to six Portland area school districts and a smaller percentage going to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, an agency that provides grants and services for artists, organizations, and schools in the Portland area.

The tax is missing its target due partly to the low compliance rate among taxpayers and the fact that the city is relying heavily on a system of voluntary compliance, as the auditor report notes. (In 2014, the compliance rate was 61 percent.) Early changes to the code and rules of who is required to pay the tax increased the complexity of collection and may have contributed to low participation.

The audit report mentions that the City Council and the Revenue Division will have to carefully balance the benefits of enforcement with the potential effects on the city’s residents—it could increase collections and promote compliance, but could negatively impact residents’ credit scores, for example.

“In the case of an income tax, releasing names and addresses of taxpayers in not a reasonable expectation that taxpayers have,” the City Council ordinance reads. “As such, names and addresses of taxpayers who have paid the Arts Tax should remain confidential to the extent the law allows.”

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal to change the rule on March 2.

Image via iStock


More on art and music education:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession We Feel Your Grief: Remembering the 1,000 Plus Educators Who've Died of COVID-19
The heartbreaking tally of lives lost to the coronavirus continues to rise and take a steep toll on school communities.
3 min read
090321 1000 Educators Lost BS
Education Week
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good
A science teacher responds to another science teacher's hesitation to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
1 min read
Teaching Profession With Vaccine Mandates on the Rise, Some Teachers May Face Discipline
With a vaccine now fully FDA-approved, more states and districts will likely require school staff get vaccinated. The logistics are tricky.
9 min read
Grace John, who works at a school in San Lorenzo, gets a COVID-19 shot at a mobile vaccination clinic run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state in Hayward, Calif., on Feb. 19, 2021. California will become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The statewide vaccine mandate for K-12 educators comes as schools return from summer break amid growing concerns of the highly contagious delta variant.
Grace John, who works at a school in San Lorenzo, gets a COVID-19 shot at a mobile vaccination clinic in Hayward, Calif. California is among those states requiring all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Terry Chea/AP
Teaching Profession In Their Own Words Why This Science Teacher Doesn't Want the COVID Vaccine
Contrary to public health guidance, Davis Eidahl, an Iowa high school teacher, has no plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
4 min read
Davis Eidahl, a science teacher at Pekin High School in Packwood, Iowa, says he doesn't want to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He thinks social distancing and occasional masking will be sufficient to keep himself and others safe.
Davis Eidahl, a science teacher at Pekin High School in Packwood, Iowa, says he doesn't want to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He thinks social distancing and occasional masking will be sufficient to keep himself and others safe.
Rachel Mummey for Education Week